Home Seller

Home Seller’s: What to Look For in a Real Estate Agent

SELLER’s EXPECTATION:

What to Look For in a Real Estate Agent

To start, not all real estate agents operate equally. An effective real estate agent must be passionate, persistent, knowledgeable and work full time. An agents #1 goal is to meet the seller’s expectation by taking the time to understand the seller’s needs. The agent must sell a home timely, at the right price and with little burden to the homeowner as possible. To this end the following qualities are universally demonstrated by successful real estate agents and demanded by home sellers.

STRONG COMMUNICATOR

According to a current survey by Qazoo.com and reported by the National Real Estate Post, the #1 complaint from consumers about a real estate agent is their lack of communication skills. A real estate agent must be balanced. They must be a good listener and a good teacher. As important, a real estate agent must be responsive. At your first meeting the real estate agent should inquire how you best like to communicate- by telephone, email, text or other.

HONEST & TRANSPARENT

                Honesty is the best policy and it helps to keep life simple. The truth will always be revealed. Honesty is about being transparent sharing the truth no matter the cost.  Sadly, at times the truth is stretched or not shared because a real estate agent hopes to protect their self- interest or the seller’s feelings. For example, a real estate agent will advise a seller their home is worth more than the market will bear. The agent does this to either secure the listing (self-interest) or to not upset the seller. Either way ultimately the seller loses as their home will linger on the market for too long and inevitably sell for a reduced price.

MARKET KNOWLEDGE

                A real estate agent needs to have a strong understanding of market dynamics and people. Your real estate agent must help you identify your needs to successfully navigate the selling process for your advantage. It is imperative that your agent knows how to handle the challenges that will arise when selling a home, for example, how to work with a demanding buyer or the consequence of not disclosing known impediments.

Once you are confident a prospective real estate agent embodies the above qualities make sure to inquire about a sales and marketing system. Studies confirm home sellers want to work with real estate agents that apply a comprehensive system to sell a home.

National Association of Realtors:The Truth about Commissions

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) in conjunction with the Swanepoel/T3 Group authored the DANGER Report (2015) that identifies multiple threats that will impact the real estate industry. The report reveals the thinking of 70 industry leaders and over 7,500 brokers and agents from across the country. The following is an excerpt from the report that highlights a significant threat to commissioned real estate agents and a great opportunity for home sellers and buyers.

A2- Commissions Spiral Downwards

A variety of powerful forces will exert significant downward pressure on real estate commissions.

Scale 1 – 5     (1= 10% chance, 5= 100% chance)

Probability:  5.0%

Timing:         3.5%

Impact:         5.0%

Index:            87.5  out of 100  (Critical concern for the Real Estate Industry)

“Home buyers might not always want to use a

real estate agent, but most think they have to.

What happens if their perspective changes?” 

REPORT PERSPECTIVE

Consumers are definitely becoming more motivated to find an alternate solution, and a growing new generation of brokers and agents are exploring a legion of new business models and pricing models that will most likely become commonplace……….

IN CONTEXT

The continued rise in home prices has facilitated the elevation of real estate earnings based on commissions.Those earnings have not gone unnoticed by consumers, who are responding by placing increased pressure on real estate agents to reduce their commission rates. As a result, many fear a gradual downward slide or a realignment of fees as charged in other countries in the world.

WORLD REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE FEES 

According to a report by the International Real Estate Review, real estate brokerage fees around the world are:

United Kingdom…………….. 1 – 2%
Singapore………………………. 1.5 – 2%
Netherlands…………………… 1.5 – 2%

Australia……………………….. 2 – 3%
Belgium………………………… 3%
Germany………………………. 3-6%

and in the United States          5-6%

Real estate home sellers and buyers are saving thousands of dollars by paying direct or not paying a % commission to a real estate agent. Fixed fee compensation or alternative models are consumer preferred. Save money don’t pay a real estate commission.

Read the full report online at http://www.dangerreport.com/

Attention Home Buyers: Steps to Buying a Home

The Home Buying Process

  1. Get Personal Finances in Order
    1. check credit score
    2. prepare and organize financial profile or PFS- Income and Expenses/Assets and Liabilities
  2. Meet with a Lender
    1. Interview mortgage brokers, credit unions and banks
    2. Determine how much home you can afford
    3. Get Pre-approved
  3. Start a Home Search Online
    1. Create a list of home expectations and needs
    2. Visit Zillow.com
    3. Visit Realtor.com
  4. Request a showing appointment with the listing agent-visit home and neighborhood
  5. Identify a Real Estate Attorney
    1. Review loan materials
    2. Review contracts
  6. Make an Offer
  7. Negotiate
  8. Home Inspection
  9. Sign Purchase and Sale agreement
  10. Confirm Mortgage Commitment
  11. Final Walk Through
  12. Home Closing- formal signing of closing documents
  13. Move In

DYK:

  • In 2015 a commissioned real estate buyer agent is neither required nor desired by a buyer to purchase a home.
  • Don’t have a buyer agent, many home sellers will discount the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) list price- money they would have otherwise paid to the buyer agent. Buy Direct and Save.

It’s nearly impossible to identify a survey that suggests a major concern for a home buyer is finding the right buyer agent. This result either presupposes all buyer agents are equal or, more to the point, a buyer agent is not a necessity. Before the internet, a buyer agent was needed because the buyer agent controlled all the home listing information and it was the only way a home buyer could learn about a property for sale. However, in 2015, Zillow.com, Realtor.com and other online companies have diluted the need of the buyer agent by making home listing information available to the general public, at no cost.

If you are in the market to buy a home follow the above home buying steps and pay below the MLS list price.

 

A balanced home is easier to sell. Decorate with awareness.

By nature many home improvements are personal. That is why we can say, “This is my home.” However there is a balance between making your home personally comfortable and realizing one day you will sell your home.

Not all home improvement projects are equal. Certain projects add 100%+ value to your home- like adding additional livable square footage; while other home improvements may not be worth the expense of doing the project and the big bugaboo are those projects that will actually make your home sell for less.

The following is a short list of these projects, major and minor, that will devalue your home:

MAJOR NoNo:

If you live in a 3 bedroom home never swallow the second or third bedroom to create a larger Master bedroom, this is a very costly mistake. A lower bedroom count is a true impediment for a home seller. Home buyers are more concerned about the total number of bedrooms a home offers and then the size of each room.

MAJOR NoNo:

Have you ever heard a real estate agent say the home is complete with no garage? Probably not because a garage completes a home. Most homeowners (especially in the suburbs) have a car and want to secure their car indoors either in an attached or detached garage. The idea of commandeering garage space and converting it to livable space is foolhardy and not cost-effective. If you want to enlarge a home’s useable area consider finishing a basement or build additional square footage from scratch.

MINOR NoNo:

Never paint Betty Boop or a rich dark color on a wall or wall paper a room.  The easiest way to add accent to a room is to hang it- either a picture or a sculpture. Be aware- whatever you do to decorate a room make sure it can be easily undone before you sell.

Your home is your castle today, but tomorrow it will be somebody else’s. Create, design and decorate a balanced home. It will be easier to sell.

The 4 MARKET CONCERNS of HOME SELLERS & BUYERS

There is a compelling story evolving in real estate sales that meritoriously mirrors the recent proposed consumer protection efforts of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPD).

In 2015, the advancement of technology and the influence of Zillow’s public facing listing platform has unlocked the control of the real estate agent and helped to devolve power to the consumer. Real estate sellers and buyers are frustrated that their consumer needs are not being addressed and the cost to transact real estate is too high. Many home sellers and buyers are challenging and questioning the traditional commission based sales model and asking WHY?

  1. REAL ESTATE AGENTS OPERATE in a VACUUM

The traditional commission based sales model is seeded in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). The MLS is a restricted website for real estate brokers and agents only. It is also referred to as the broker’s network- an exclusive membership club for real estate agents to advertise and share commissions. Using the MLS, a commissioned listing agent will post a home for sale in hopes that a buyer agent will collaborate. Collaboration means posting and sharing a commission that is split between listing and buyer agent.

The listed commission determines how quickly a home will sell. The greater the commission the greater the chance a buyer agent will cooperate and show the home to their buyer. By design the home buyer has no knowledge of the commission offered to the buyer agent through the MLS. Both the home buyer and home seller are harmed by a lack of transparency and unethical real estate agents that conduct business purely in the vacuum of the MLS.

  1. REAL ESTATE AGENTS LACK TRANSPARENCY

The traditional commission based sales model is not structured to be transparent. Transparency is operating in such a way that it is easy for others to see what actions are performed. The home seller and buyer are the most important participants in a real estate transaction, but often times are not consulted until after the listing agent and buyer agent have forged a deal using MLS.

If you are a home seller be certain your listing agent employs a sales and marketing system that meets your approval and all your expectations are acknowledged.

If you are buying a home make sure your buyer agent (if you choose to use one) shows you every home listing, not just the listings that pays the most co-broke commission.

  1. REAL ESTATE AGENTS MAY VIOLATE the LAW & ETHICS

It’s truly amazing the number of buyer agents that ignorantly or knowingly violate (break) laws aimed at protecting the consumer by not showing a home buyer a home listing. The reluctance of a buyer agent not to show a home is generally because the MLS home listing does not offer adequate compensation to the buyer agent. Consequently, the buyer agent is steering home buyers away from properties for their own personal financial gain and putting their needs in advance of the buyer to whom they serve.

This type of deception by the buyer agent frustrates the reputation of all real estate professionals. It’s a sobering breach of the Realtor’s Code of Ethics, a serious violation of Mass General Law 93A (Regulation of Business Practices for Consumers Protection), and potentially an abuse of ANTITRUST regulations.

  1. REAL ESTATE AGENTS MLS is NOT CONSUMER FRIENDLY

In practice, a real estate commission/fee should echo free market considerations – consumers receiving the highest desired service at a competitive price. The reality is the MLS and the traditional commission based sales model fails the consumer and purely benefits the sales agent. Characteristically a real estate agent aggressively champions the traditional commission based sales model at the expense of the consumer by claiming:

“This is the rate every firm charges” 

“I’d like to lower the commission, but no one else in the MLS will show your house unless the commission is X%”

“Before you decide to list with XYZ Realty you should know that because they are “discount” agents, members of the association won’t show their listings.”

The three above agent statements violate federal antitrust laws and state laws meant to protect the consumer. A free market is an economic system in which prices and wages are determined by unrestricted competition between businesses and consumers.

THE REAL ESTATE SOLUTION

  1. If you are selling a home only work with a full service, fixed fee real estate agent.
  2. If you are a buying a home use a fixed fee real estate agent and have a real estate attorney review all the documents/contracts.

Is paying a real estate commission really necessary?

Serendipitously the influence of Zillow may also help to reduce the transaction costs for both the home seller and buyer. Is paying a real estate commission really necessary? NO! But many real estate professionals feverishly protect the commission model suggesting it is in the only way to ensure sellers and buyers receive quality information and service. You can bet Zillow is delivering timely quality information and that there are real estate agents that deliver full service and do not charge a commission, but rather a fixed fee.

Zillow has cracked the dominance of real estate agents and brokers over the home buyer and seller. By devolving information and making home listing public facing Zillow has stripped real estate agents of a treasured commodity- the control of home listings. More importantly, Zillow does not operate like a Multiple Listing Service (MLS) – the real estate broker’s network. Zillow does not highlight the commission, also called the co/broke, a listing broker will pay a buyer agent. Often times a buyer agent using the MLS, will not show a home buyer a respected property if that listing does not offer a satisfactory commission to the buyer agent. Therefore the buyer agent under the MLS system is the gatekeeper of information. The buyer agent will serve his/her self-interest to make more money, rather than serving the needs of their client- the home buyer.

This point is confirmed by Inman News in a 2015 Special Report- “Why Real Estate Agents Don’t Compete on Commission Rates.” When asked what’s stopping the agent from charging a fixed fee or offering less in commission?  The majority of respondents agreed that philosophically agents and brokers are opposed to commission discounts. Most noticeably because that means brokers/agents would make less money. More poignant is that agent and brokers said they fear if they represent a seller at a reduced commission, other brokers might not promote their listings to their buyers. This type of behavior is called steering and is in violation of laws that protect consumers and enforce competitive markets. A competitive real estate market based on reducing transaction costs is good for home sellers and buyers.

Fortuitously Zillow and the internet have leveled the playing field and empowered home seller and buyers. It is NOW up to home sellers and buyers to exercise this power and say, “NO to Paying a Real Estate Commissions”.

Save MONEY. Only list a home with a FIXED FEE Realtor.

 

Filtering Down Local Real Estate…. The Northeast to Chelmsford, MA 01824

Real estate statistics are interesting and make good conversation in the board room or at a cocktail party. For example, what are the most recent existing home sales activity in the northeast telling us? According to the National Association of Realtors existing homes sales through March, 2015 have increased 6.9% to an annual rate of of 620,000 units. Also, the median price of a home is now $240,500.

KCM NAR Exisitng Sales Report March-page0001

But don’t you really want to know what’s happening in your own backyard?

The below table shows you what is happening in Chelmsford, MA; Westford, MA; Concord, MA and Carlisle, MA. It’s data like this that analysts use to spin stories that we all read and talk about.

But more importantly what are your thoughts? What are these numbers saying to you.

March YoY MLS report-page-0

If you are thinking of selling your home this Spring, NOW is the time to contact your local real estate broker. Be the first to market and capitalize on low inventory. If you want to put even more money in your pocket LIST your home with a FULL SERVICE, FIXED FEE real estate broker. Don’t needlessly give your hard earned home equity away.

Home Sellers in Massachusetts Want to Know

How long will my home be on the market before a willing and able home buyer makes an offer?

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) a home in Massachusetts can expect to be on the market between 45-60 days.

4.10.15 DOM in Your State-page0001 (1)

But if you live in Middlesex County- in these selected communities- Chelmsford, Westford, Concord, Carlisle, Lowell, and Billerica, you can expect your home to be on the market 98.73 days according to the MLS.

The secret to selling a home fast and maximizing profit is outlined in the 4 P’s of Selling a Home.

  1. PREP
  2. PRICE
  3. PROMO
  4. POP

If you want to put even more money in your pocket, use a full service real estate agent that breaks the commission mold and charges a FIXED FEE (no commission) and passes the savings to you.

This spring when you interview a prospective listing real estate agent make sure to ask, “how much will you charge me to sell my home?”

Don’t give your home equity away. Save 1,000’s of dollars and never compromise service.

Use a FIXED FEE, FULL SERVICE real estate agent.

Where are Home Sellers and Renters Going?

According to the statistics from the most current census, Florida is the hot GOTO state. In fact, from July 1, 2013 and July 1, 2014 seven of the nation’s top 50 population gaining metro areas are in Florida. Number 2 on the list is Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, which encompasses The Villages, which now has a total population of 114,000. Overall Florida is the nation’s third most populous state.

  • Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach (with a one-year gain of about 66,000).
  • Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford (about 50,000).
  • Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater (about 41,000).
  • Jacksonville (about 23,000).
  • Cape Coral-Fort Myers (about 18,000).
  • North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton (about 16,000).
  • Lakeland-Winter Haven (about 11,000).

Consistent over time Americans are migrating for similar reasons as existed prior to the housing crisis. People want a combination of good weather, affordable housing and job opportunities.  If any place, like Florida, combines these factors, home buyers and renters will flock.

Seeking the Sunshine

This spring if you’re thinking of selling your home don’t give your home equity away. Put more money in your pocket. Save 1000’s of dollars and never compromise service.

Use a FIXED FEE, FULL SERVICE real estate broker.

Simple Supply and Demand: Real Estate Inventories are Down, Real Estate Prices are up.

The National Association of Realtors reported yesterday February’s existing home sales increased modestly.

Home prices are up 7.5% YoY. Days on Market is down. Homes are selling faster and for more money. As expected the Northeast existing home sale numbers were blanched due to extreme weather conditions. However home sales still recorded a 3.6 percent rise compared to one year ago and the median sales price of $241,800 is 3.3 percent above a year ago.

If you are thinking of selling your home this Spring, NOW is the time to contact your local real estate broker. Be the first to market and capitalize on low inventory. If you want to put even more money in your pocket LIST your home with a FULL SERVICE, FIXED FEE real estate broker. Don’t needlessly give your hard earned home equity away.

3.24.15- NAR Feb Exisitng Home Sales Report Infographic-page0001

Your  Choice Your Way

 

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